Colorado’s Big Cat Hunting Ban Loses Support Around Capitol Hill

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DENVER (KDVR) — A move that has stirred some reaction in the livestock industry is losing support on Capitol Hill.

A bill that would ban big game hunting lost three of its four main sponsors. The measure would prohibit the shooting, trapping and killing of cougars, bobcats and lynxes. It makes exceptions for killing big cats if they threaten to harm humans and if it is necessary to protect livestock if the big cats are on the livestock owner’s property.

With the recent wolf attacks along the western slope, many who work with livestock believe this measure would present another danger to the livestock that live there.

“If your ecosystem is based on hunting and controlling ecosystems, you take that tool away and all of a sudden you’re disrupting an ecosystem,” said rancher and state senator Jerry Sonnenberg. “This potentially means more attacks on wildlife, deer, elk, antelope and other wildlife. I find these types of bills frustrating. Although this allows hunters to protect their livestock, it is often too late. They can protect their livestock, but that’s after something has already been killed by that bobcat or whatever that animal is.

Kenny Rogers of the Colorado Livestock Association said he’s heard from breeders about big cats impacting their herd.

“A rancher said he had to keep a small flock of sheep, but he had to round them up in carrels at night to try to keep them safe. He woke up one morning and saw a mountain lion lying on the top rail of the fence, calmly reaching out and grabbing a young lamb, putting it in its mouth and running away with it before it can do anything about it, and that’s what we’re gonna be faced,” Rogers said.

The bill’s path is uncertain now that the two House sponsors and a senator are no longer sponsoring the measure. Senator Joann Ginal dropped her name as the bill’s lead sponsor.

“I’ve been a long-time advocate for animal rights in the legislature, and I’m committed to following science and ensuring that we manage Colorado’s wildlife in a way that works for everyone, including the animals themselves. themselves,” Ginal said in a statement. “SB22-031 does not have the support of people in the field, career wildlife scientists and advocacy groups that it needs, which is why I am withdrawing my support for the bill. This law needs to be discussed further by all who would be affected.We need to ensure that Colorado’s wildlife is responsibly managed while following the best science possible.

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